Author Topic: Album Artwork in iTunes  (Read 1244 times)

dagobah

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Album Artwork in iTunes
« on: June 03, 2017, 06:26:51 AM »
I have a question about Album Artwork in iTunes.  I am referring to the JPG file that can be added to a track in the iTunes Library.

Here is some info.  I list the info chronologically.

For several years, most of the U2 tracks in my iTunes Library were from The Complete U2 digital box set that I bought from the iTunes Store in 2005.  Those tracks came with Album Artwork.  iTunes described the U2 digital box set files as:   Kind:  Protected AAC audio file

In April 2013, I deleted (from my iTunes Library) the U2 digital box set tracks that were U2 album tracks.  Then, I imported (into my iTunes Library) tracks from these CDs:
-  2008 re-release CD of Boy
-  2008 re-release CD of October
-  2008 re-release CD of War
-  2009 re-release CD of The Unforgettable Fire
-  2007 re-release CD of The Joshua Tree
-  original CD of Rattle & Hum
-  2011 re-release CD of Achtung Baby
-  2011 re-release CD of Zooropa
-  original CD of Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1
-  original CD of Pop
-  original CD of The Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack
-  original CD of All That You Canít Leave Behind
-  deluxe edition CD of How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

However, I did not add Album Artwork.  iTunes described the imported files as:   Kind:  AAC audio file

In January of this year (2017), I bought a new Dell Desktop computer and I paid a professional computer guy to help me set it up.  That included transferring my iTunes Library from my old computer to my new computer.  I donít know if a new computer is relevant to my question (at the end of this post), but I figured I would mention it.

In May of this year (2017), I deleted (from my iTunes Library) tracks that I purchased from the iTunes Store for:
-  No Line On The Horizon
-  Songs Of Innocence (yes, I know iTunes gave these to me for free; regardless, I deleted them)

Then, I imported (into my iTunes Library) tracks from these CDs:
-  deluxe edition CD of No Line On The Horizon
-  deluxe edition CD of Songs Of Innocence
I did not add Album Artwork.  iTunes described the imported files as:   Kind:  AAC audio file

I donít know how long the following situation has existed, but today is the first time I noticed it.  There is no Album Artwork in the iTunes tracks for these albums:
-  Passengers: Original Soundtracks 1
-  Pop
-  The Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack
-  Songs Of Innocence
And thatís what I expect.  There should not be Album Artwork.

However, there is Album Artwork in the iTunes tracks for these albums :
-  Boy
-  October
-  War
-  The Unforgettable Fire
-  The Joshua Tree
-  Rattle & Hum
-  Achtung Baby
-  Zooropa
-  All That You Canít Leave Behind
-  How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
-  No Line On The Horizon

That does not make sense.  There should not be Album Artwork because I did not add it.  I live alone so I know no one accessed my computer and did it.  Does anyone have any idea how the Album Artwork got added to those iTunes tracks?  I don't see any pattern to the situation described above.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 08:12:09 AM by dagobah »

Brad

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2017, 10:35:55 AM »
iTunes does add album artwork automatically if it recognizes the artist and album name. Something like the Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack probably isn't in their library, but Pop should be.

U2Joshua

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2017, 10:52:32 AM »
What is your end goal?  Are you trying to figure out how to add artwork?  Or, are you simply curious as to iTunes' rogue behavior in populating artwork, autonomously?

I'm a diehard iTunes user, and have been for nearly 15 years.  I can guide your efforts if you're trying to accomplish something.  If all you want to know is how/why iTunes added artwork to your otherwise artworkless albums, this could be the result of a few different things. 

First, with the simple click of a button you can petition iTunes to find Artwork for albums, either individually, or for your entire iTunes Library.  Perhaps, you did this unknowingly (perhaps, inadvertently through the use of "hotkeys").


This is a screenshot from the MacOS version of iTunes.  The PC version of iTunes has the same features, although they may be slightly rearranged.

Second, iTunes (while one of the better digital music interfaces available, IMHO) is not without it's bugs/flaws.  iTunes, has in my experience, on occasion filled in Artwork without me petitioning it.  Call it a bug, if you like..., or, perhaps, to some this might be seen as "feature" (iTunes trolling your library to see if you any albums without Artwork, and subsequently filling them in for you).  This has happened to the extent that on occasion it has populated some of my albums with incorrect Artwork.

Third, the fact that you've purchased some of these/all of these albums before, even though you deleted them, iTunes keeps a repository of these purchases and may inadvertently link your CD uploaded versions of the albums to your previously-purchased, now-deleted versions of the albums, and populates the Artwork, as such.  On that note, if ever you want to restore those purchases, that can be done easily, as well.

At any rate, I wouldn't consider this a problem on any level.  Changing Artwork is very easy to do.

As an aside, if you are looking for iTunes Artwork, there are a couple of websites that access Apple's servers allowing access to download any Artwork that is currently available in any iTunes' Store worldwide.  My favorite is Ben Dodson's:

https://bendodson.com/projects/itunes-artwork-finder/

In many instances you'll have the option to download Artwork not only in iTunes' native resolution (600x600dpi), but you can choose "High Resolution" and sometimes pull files as large as 1800x1800dpi.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 08:50:46 AM by U2Joshua »

dagobah

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2017, 04:49:01 AM »
iTunes does add album artwork automatically if it recognizes the artist and album name.
I was not aware of that.  That's interesting.  Well, that satisfies my curiosity.  Thank you for the quick reply, Brad.

. . . . . . . Or, are you simply curious as to iTunes' rogue behavior in populating artwork, autonomously?
. . . . . . . . . . Second . . . . . . iTunes, has in my experience, on occasion filled in Artwork without me petitioning it.
. . . . . . . Third, the fact that you've purchased some of these/all of these albums before, even though you deleted them, iTunes keeps a repository of these purchases and may inadvertently link your CD uploaded versions of the albums to your previously-purchased, now-deleted versions of the albums, and populates the Artwork
. . . . . . . . My favorite is Ben Dodson's:
https://bendodson.com/projects/itunes-artwork-finder/
Yes, I was simply curious.  Thank you very much for the detailed feedback.  I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to type all that interesting info!  And as usual, I'm the last person to find out about it.  I have bookmarked Ben Dodson's website in my Internet browser.  Thanks for that link.

I remember importing all my CDs (into my iTunes Library) so many years ago.  And I remember how long it took and what a pain-in-the-ass it was.  I certainly wasn't going to take the time to add Album Artwork to every track.  So it just became one way of differentiating my imported tracks . . . . . . . from tracks I purchased from iTunes, Amazon, etc.

U2Joshua

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2017, 10:38:01 AM »
I say, "Let the artwork live on!" ;D

There are easier and better ways to discern what is a purchased track vs. an imported track.

To be more enabled as a user, I strong recommend doing away with the dumbed-down, standard interface that iTunes has become over the past few years, and use the "Songs" view, as opposed to the Album Cover view.  In doing so you'll be ale to select which information you want displayed, including the track's "Kind" as you already alluded to in your OP, and it will be right there in the displayed information.

Additionally, I cannot evangelize with sufficient fervor the benefits of iTunes Match ($25/yr.).  iTunes, itself, and the great service that is iTunes Match have both been dumbed-down and overshadowed, all in an effort to gain paying Apple Music subscriptions (the wave of the future), but to any power user, and especially fans of a particular band whose music is not entirely available on Apple Music (i.e. b-sides, promos, etc...), maintaining control of your own library is imperative.

I'm remote, right now, but will upload some screenshots later detailing what I mean, above, regarding the various views in iTunes.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 10:40:05 AM by U2Joshua »

U2Joshua

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2017, 03:03:34 PM »
Okay, so here are a series of images showing how to get more out of iTunes, tweaking settings away from the new, modern UI that is standard when you download iTunes, back to the more traditional look and feel of iTunes which is far more empowering to the user:

Standard, current UI:


Toggle "View" tab to select view options and select "Show Sidebar"


Sidebar now visible on left, with "Albums" view still as default:


Select "Songs" view:


Select "View" tab in menu bar and select "Show View Options":


Select "Show Artwork":


<"Show Artwork" selected>


<Highlighted: Info bar>


Right-Click on info bar results in dropdown of info bar tab options.  Select "Kind"


Track "Kind" is now visible:


Note:  Each time you add or remove an info bar tab item, it may end up being added all the way out to the far right (off screen).  Simply scroll <left> / <right> until you find the tab item you're looking for, and then you can click and drag the info tab items, laterally, to the order you desire.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 09:04:22 AM by U2Joshua »

dagobah

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 03:00:51 AM »
. . . . . . . use the "Songs" view, as opposed to the Album Cover view
 . . . . . . . . . . . Additionally, I cannot evangelize with sufficient fervor the benefits of iTunes Match ($25/yr.).  iTunes, itself, and the great service that is iTunes Match
I'm pretty sure my iTunes Library is in the Song view
The way my iTunes screen is set-up . . . . . when a track is played, the Album Artwork appears as a very small image at the top of the iTunes screen, between these things:
-  the icon that gives you the option to "Choose which speakers to use"
-  the icon with arrows intersecting each other (those arrows offer the option to choose "shuffle the play order of the music")   [underneath those intersecting arrows is the amount of time that the track has already played]

What is the purpose of iTunes Match?  I looked it up on Wikipedia and I don't understand the explanation.  The Wikipedia info doesn't provide an example situation for me to understand the "why".

Brad

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2017, 10:39:25 AM »
With iTunes Match, any track that you add to your library will be "matched" to the same track in the iTunes store, and the version from iTunes will show up on all of your Apple devices.

You can also delete the original version and download the iTunes version to your iTunes library.

U2Joshua

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2017, 11:05:03 AM »
What Brad said.  For me, the most compelling element is having your entire catalog in the Cloud, and being able to access it across any OS, tvOS, iOS device - for streaming or downloading.

To boot, is the "Match" feature, which is nice if you have files in lesser quality than what is available in the store, such that upon your tracks being "Matched" (iTunes scans your files, and based on digital footprint determines whether or not the track is a known track that is available in the iTunes Store) you then have access to iTunes Plus 256Kbps AAC versions of the files.

A final note:  In the instance you want to "Upload" a track to the Cloud but don't want it to be "Matched" there is a workaround.  It's a bit of a pain in the butt, but I'm happy to walk anyone through it who would like to try it.

The reasons for not wanting to Match can be many, including say, wanting to upload an MFSL version of an album, and iTunes ends up "matching" some or all of your tracks to the version available in iTunes (not MFSL).  In these cases, by way of a bit of trickery you fake iTunes into not being able to recognize the tracks, and in doing so iTunes does not identify the track in question, and instead of "matching" it, it "Uploads" it, and your uploaded version of the track is then available in the cloud.  Another example is the case of compilation albums...  If you rip a greatest hits cd, and it's been mastered differently than any of the given tracks on the album compared to their original album release versions, you never know what iTunes will end up matching each track to.  In some cases you end up with DR all over the map, or end up with different masterings, etc.

An additional application for wanting to "Upload" is rooted in my anal-retentive, wannabe audiophile tendencies.  While any "Matched" track is matched to iTunes Plus 256Kbps AAC quality, iTunes will actually "Upload" (any non-matched tracks) at a bitrate of up to 320Kbps, whether MP3, AAC, VBR AAC, etc.  So, in the case of me wanting the highest quality versions of my music available in the cloud, I "force Upload" tracks in 320Kbps (VBR) AAC [iTunes encoded], and end up with a higher quality encode than the "Matched" version available in the store. 

Truth be told, I have my entire U2 catalog force uploaded in 320Kbps (VBR) AAC, with the exception of tracks that are not available losslessly, and/or may only be available in iTunes (iTunes exclusive content), or in the case of the recent "Mastered for iTunes" releases, I'm going with those for listening as opposed to my previously uploaded 320Kbps (VBR) AAC versions ripped from cd.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 11:10:26 AM by U2Joshua »

Brad

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2017, 01:47:28 PM »
I would definitely be interested in hearing how this force upload trick works.

U2Joshua

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2017, 03:29:59 PM »
Brad are you Mac or PC?

Brad

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2017, 08:06:40 PM »

U2Joshua

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Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2017, 10:39:30 PM »
    Objective:  Trick iTunes by importing phony music files that are unrecognizable by iTunes Match, and at the precise moment swap out the recently scanned phony files with proper files that you desire to be Uploaded, which otherwise would be Matched if not for the initial exposure to the phony files, resulting in iTunes Uploading the proper files, otherwise believing it's uploading the phony files.

    Time involved:  5 - 8 minutes per album (once you've mastered the process)

    Method:
    • Encode tracks to preferred format.  I recommend iTunes to encode to 320Kbps VBR.  It used to be that VBR meant a track's bitrate would vary in real time, fluctuating above and below your selected bitrate, such that a lower volume, less noisy track could end up with a bitrate well under your desired bitrate.  A while back, iTunes' VBR setting was changed such that whatever bitrate selected is the minimum bitrate at any point throughout the track, and any variability only increases above that minimum threshold.
    • Once tracks are encoded, remove them from iTunes and place them in a folder ("Folder 1") on your desktop.  Make sure they are deleted out of iTunes, completely.
    • Using dBpoweramp: https://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm (free version is sufficient) transcode your encoded tracks to 320Kbps AAC, while selecting the "Reverse" effect.  This creates a copy of your tracks that have the same metadata, same track length, same basic digital footprint as your originals, except in this case it's a backmasked version of each track.  Place these files in another folder ("Folder 2") on your desktop.
    • Open your iTunes Library Music Folder and drill down to the Artist (U2) level, leaving that folder open to view on your desktop.
    • With iTunes open (and I strongly recommend opening/using a Library on your Mac's onboard hard drive for this exercise, not an external drive.  Latency is critical for this) Import the Reversed tracks (from "Folder 2") that you created with dBpoweramp.
    • Quickly relocate the open iTunes Library Music Artist (U2) folder, and identify the newly created Album folder based on the album you just imported (again, these are your "Reversed" tracks).  I say to do this quickly because you do not want for iTunes to automatically begin the file scanning process to determine Matched tracks, just yet.
    • Copy all of your originally encoded tracks (from "Folder 1") into the open iTunes Library Music Album folder that your Reversed tracks are now in.  If everything went smoothly in your dBpoweramp reverse transcode, all metadata should carry over, and each track should have the exact same file name, etc., such that you'll receive a popup warning indicating that you're trying to copy files into a folder with files of the same name.

      Quickly toggle, "Apply to All"

      and then proceed to step 8.
    • In iTunes look at the recently imported album of Reversed tracks and highlight (Select) all of the reversed tracks.  Then, right-click, and select, "Add to iCloud Music Library."
    • Immediately, iTunes goes to work scanning the tracks you just selected for adding.  A small status icon appears in the upper-right corner of iTunes that looks like this:

      ...click on it, immediately, and watch the status go from "Gathering information about your iTunes Library"
      to "Waiting to upload songs"

      to "Matching your music to songs in the iTunes store"
      ...this all takes place in a matter of only seconds (depending on computer processor and internet speed).
    • As soon as you see the status change to "Matching your music to songs in the iTunes store" you return to the popup you received when you initially copied the proper encoded tracks into the folder that contains your reversed tracks, and select "Replace."  As a matter of fact, already have the popup visible, with your cursor hovering over the "Replace" selection, and your finger on the trigger (mouse/trackpad), as you want this to happen as near to instaneous as possible.
    • Let iTunes do the rest!

    If all goes well, you should be able to, with a slightly customized iTunes view, see a result like this:


    I recommend doing an album at a time.  Almost invariably, if uploading a batch of 5 to 10 tracks, all but 1 of them (typically, "track #2" on any given album) will Upload, successfully.  Whichever track(s) did not Upload, set those aside, and repeat the steps above (with only the failed tracks) until you successfully Upload all desired tracks [one trick here, is to change the track number to something other than track #2 (you'll have to change it on both your reversed track and your proper track, as they have to be identical), and reupload it along with at least a few other tracks (can be any tracks, so long as the song(s) you're trying to re-upload that failed the first time are not track #2 this go-around.  Once you've successfully Uploaded your orphan tracks, simply delete any of the other tracks you had to use in accompanying your orphaned track].  I find that if I try to do only 1 track a time, I have an extremely low success rate.

    Let me know how it goes.[/list]
    « Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 09:11:33 PM by U2Joshua »

    dagobah

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    Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
    « Reply #13 on: June 06, 2017, 03:39:43 AM »
    With iTunes Match, any track that you add to your library will be "matched" to the same track in the iTunes store, and the version from iTunes will show up on all of your Apple devices.

    You can also delete the original version and download the iTunes version to your iTunes library.
    Brad, thank you for the quick reply and for the info.
    What Brad said.  For me, the most compelling element is having your entire catalog in the Cloud, and being able to access it across any OS, tvOS, iOS device - for streaming or downloading.

    To boot, is the "Match" feature, which is nice if you have files in lesser quality than what is available in the store, such that upon your tracks being "Matched" . . . . . .
    Josh, thank you also.  Based on that info . . . . . I must admit, I have no interest in iTunes Match or the iCloud.  But now I know what iTunes Match is so thanks guys for taking the time to give me detailed feedback.  I sincerely appreciate it.

    morgan1098

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    Re: Album Artwork in iTunes
    « Reply #14 on: June 06, 2017, 12:23:49 PM »
      Objective:  Trick iTunes by importing phony music files that are unrecognizable by iTunes Match, and at the precise moment swap out the recently scanned phony files with proper files that you desire to be Uploaded, which otherwise would be Matched if not for the initial exposure to the phony files, resulting in iTunes Uploading the proper files, otherwise believing it's uploading the phony files.

      Time involved:  5 - 8 minutes per album (once you've mastered the process)

      Method:
      • Encode tracks to preferred format.  I recommend iTunes to encode to 320Kbps VBR.  It used to be that VBR meant a track's bitrate would vary in real time, fluctuating above and below your selected bitrate, such that a lower volume, less noisy track could end up with a bitrate well under your desired bitrate.  A while back, iTunes' VBR setting was changed such that whatever bitrate selected is the minimum bitrate at any point throughout the track, and any variability only increases above that minimum threshold.
      • Once tracks are encoded, remove them from iTunes and place them in a folder ("Folder 1") on your desktop.  Make sure they are deleted out of iTunes, completely.
      • Using dBpoweramp: https://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm (free version is sufficient) transcode your encoded tracks to 320Kbps AAC, while selecting the "Reverse" effect.  This creates a copy of your tracks that have the same metadata, same track length, same basic digital footprint as your originals, except in this case it's a backmasked version of each track.  Place these files in another folder ("Folder 2") on your desktop.
      • Open your iTunes Library Music Folder and drill down to the Artist (U2) level, leaving that folder open to view on your desktop.
      • With iTunes open (and I strongly recommend opening/using a Library on your Mac's onboard hard drive for this exercise, not an external drive.  Latency is critical for this) Import the Reversed tracks (from "Folder 2") that you created with dBpoweramp.
      • Quickly relocate the open iTunes Library Music Artist (U2) folder, and identify the newly created Album folder based on the album you just imported (again, these are your "Reversed" tracks).  I say to do this quickly because you do not want for iTunes to automatically begin the file scanning process to determine Matched tracks, just yet.
      • Copy all of your originally encoded tracks (from "Folder 1") into the open iTunes Library Music Album folder that your Reversed tracks are now in.  If everything went smoothly in your dBpoweramp reverse transcode, all metadata should carry over, and each track should have the exact same file name, etc., such that you'll receive a popup warning indicating that you're trying to copy files into a folder with files of the same name.

        Quickly toggle, "Apply to All"

        and then proceed to step 8.
      • In iTunes look at the recently imported album of Reversed tracks and highlight (Select) all of the reversed tracks.  Then, right-click, and select, "Add to iCloud Music Library."
      • Immediately, iTunes goes to work scanning the tracks you just selected for adding.  A small status icon appears in the upper-right corner of iTunes that looks like this:

        ...click on it, immediately, and watch the status go from "Gathering information about your iTunes Library"
        to "Waiting to upload songs"

        to "Matching your music to songs in the iTunes store"
        ...this all takes place in a matter of only seconds (depending on computer processor and internet speed).
      • As soon as you see the status change to "Matching your music to songs in the iTunes store" you return to the popup you received when you initially copied the proper encoded tracks into the folder that contains your reversed tracks, and select "Replace."  As a matter of fact, already have the popup visible, with your cursor hovering over the "Replace" selection, and your finger on the trigger (mouse/trackpad), as you want this to happen as near to instaneous as possible.
      • Let iTunes do the rest!

      If all goes well, you should be able to, with a slightly customized iTunes view, see a result like this:


      I recommend doing an album at a time.  Almost invariably, if uploading a batch of 5 to 10 tracks, all but 1 of them (typically, "track #2" on any given album) will Upload, successfully.  Whichever track(s) did not Upload, set those aside, and repeat the steps above (with only the failed tracks) until you successfully Upload all desired tracks [one trick here, is to change the track number to something other than track #2 (you'll have to change it on both your reversed track and your proper track, as they have to be identical), and reupload it along with at least a few other tracks (can be any tracks, so long as the song(s) you're trying to re-upload that failed the first time are not track #2 this go-around.  Once you've successfully Uploaded your orphan tracks, simply delete any of the other tracks you had to use in accompanying your orphaned track].  I find that if I try to do only 1 track a time, I have an extremely low success rate.

      Let me know how it goes.[/list]

      Am I the only one who can't see the images you've posted in this thread, Josh?